Your Response to a Bad Choice is Different than Your Response to a Mistake

July 5, 2010

In Part II of Andy Andrews guest post on Michael Hyatt’s blog, Andy explains the consequences of when a leader makes a bad choice, but treats it like a mistake.  There is a difference in consequences and in how you handle them.  Following is an excerpt of the post:

“. . .all these events seem to have a single thing in common: if a leader was the person who caused all the trouble (pulled the switch, made the move, etc.), he or she tried to clean up the disaster and make everything “nice” without knowing the difference between a mistake and a choice. The gap between the two is monumental. Knowing the difference can save you a ton of heartache, trouble, and money.

A mistake is when you turn left instead of right and get lost in the woods, subsequently stumbling off a cliff and breaking an arm. But when your mother has warned you against going into forest and you do so anyway thinking that no one will ever know, any injury is the result of a conscious choice.

When a leader makes a mistake, a carefully worded, heartfelt apology is usually all that is needed to right the ship. We rationalize, “there but for the grace of God, go I,” and we grant our own grace to the person, take a deep breath, and start over with the knowledge that “they won’t make that mistake again.”

But when there’s trouble because of a choice, the only thing that can ever hope to repair the damage is a specific request for forgiveness.

. . . Setting things right—actually asking for forgiveness—can be uncomfortable in the moment, but the effects of this simple action will astound you.

Nothing beats this:

‘I am so sorry. I am ashamed. Will you forgive me?’

These humble words, when spoken honestly, can heal virtually any wound.”

Click here to read the entire post.

So – do you have an instance in your life that you call a mistake that was actually a bad choice?  Do you need to go back and replace your apology with a request for forgiveness?

BG